Whitney Edwards

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) scored a career-high 19 points, and the New Hampshire Wildcats did not allow a Lehigh field goal in the last seven minutes of the game to defeat the Mountain Hawks in overtime, 66-58, to win the 2005 Lehigh Christmas City Classic Friday night at Stabler Arena.

For the first time in UNH women's basketball history, the Wildcats won back-to-back games that both went into overtime. The only other time UNH played consecutive overtime games was on Jan. 5 and 7, 1989, when the Wildcats defeated Brown, but lost to Holy Cross in double overtime.

The Mountain Hawks held a 49-43 lead with 50 seconds left, but UNH came roaring back, started by an Emily Hardy (Westbrook, Conn.) layup. After a Lehigh turnover, Ray Williams (Mississauga, Ontario) hit a jumper to cut the lead to two.

After Claire Sullivan made two free throws, Edwards hit a layup, then Ebony Woods (Philadelphia, Pa.) caused a turnover and drew a foul. Woods, who missed three free throws earlier in the game, swished both attempts from the charity stripe, and Lehigh was unable to get a clear shot at the end of regulation, sending the contest into an extra session.

The Wildcats opened a six-point lead in overtime off consecutive three-pointers by Edwards and Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine). While Lehigh only attempted one field goal in the extra session, the Wildcats hit five of six free throw attempts in the final minute and a half to keep the margin at a safe distance.

Edwards and Clark were named to the All-Tournament Team, with Clark earning MVP honors after scoring 40 points in the two games. Woods, in front of a raucous crowd of supporters, scored ten points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, plus earned three steals to lead all players.

Neither team was able to sustain a successful offense in the first half, as UNH shot only 29.6 percent from the field while Lehigh (4-7) hit 29.2 percent of its field goal attempts. The Wildcats were able to shut down the Mountain Hawks at the end of the half, going on an 8-0 run in the last three minutes to take a 20-18 halftime lead.

UNH used its defensive pressure to force 26 Lehigh turnovers in the game, including two shot clock violations. The Mountain Hawks outrebounded the Wildcats, 52-30, and made 19 of 21 attempts from the free throw line. UNH committed only 11 turnovers and recovered from a slow start at the charity stripe to hit 17-of-25 attempts in the game.

New Hampshire (8-2) starts the America East season Wednesday, January 4, 2006, against the UMBC Retrievers at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.

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